Theatre

Wednesday, 17 June 2015 00:00

Visit Barrel of Monkeys for their Summer Block Party! Featured

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Title: Visit Barrel of Monkeys for their Summer Block Party!

 

Looking for something to do on a hot summer evening? Join the Monkeys for a night filled with bizarre humor! Barrel of Monkeys presents “That’s Weird, Grandma: Summer Block Party”, a production of stories written by Chicago Public School students. These young, creative geniuses  (3rd-5th graders) write creative scripts or stories for the actors and/or educators of Barrel of Monkeys, who adapt and perform these sketches both in school and for the general public - in this case, The Neo-Futurist Theater. Since 2001, Barrel of Monkeys, co-founded by Dr. Erica Halverson and Halena Kays, provides a rare opportunity for creative expression, increased literacy skills and confidence in student ideas and abilities. Imagine how thrilling it is to the student whose story is turned into professionally performed theater - by their teacher. No matter how odd a child’s story is, all ideas will be embraced.

 

As the series progresses throughout its run, it’s the audience who actually votes on which stories should stay and which should go, so no two shows are ever the same. Artistic director, Joseph Schupbach, pulls out a new collection of children’s stories every Monday. These sketches are so innocent, so out of the box, and yet so incredibly eccentric. It’s as if the audience is watching a production directly from the ideas and memories of the child’s imagination. Some of the story titles include: “Elsa and Anna and the Attacking Zombies”, “The Long Day”, “The Sad Pizza”, and “Doctor Stupid Head”. The sketches brought to the stage resemble the crazy prompts you were given in the third grade, such as, ‘Why should crocodiles be domestic animals?’ The sketches are as random as could be, but they’re very humorous.

 

The Neo-Futurist Theater is an intimate space, but the actors use every inch of the space in the most creative of ways. Props, such as a plastic horse head and plastic snakes, and costumes are used, including wigs, potato sacks, and shrimp claws. Totally random. The lighting is simple yet thoughtful. Intense music filled the theater giving us notice when something dramatic was about to happen. The director and cast members sang songs and spent 30 seconds before each sketch to explain the meaning behind it, if any.  Cast members put on their best silly faces and crazy voices, earning lots of laughter from the audience. Adult actors playing out scenes and spewing out dialogue as written nearly verbatim by school children - what could be funnier?

 

“Barrel of Monkeys: Summer Block Party” is perfect for adults and children. If you want to laugh hard, I definitely recommend going to see Barrel of Monkeys. You might not be able to wipe the smile off your face as you leave the theater.

 

Location: Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. in Chicago

Running: June 8- August 10, 2015

Curtain Times: Mondays at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets: $12 for adults; $6 for children under 12. Tickets are available at www.barrelofmonkeys.org or by calling (312) 409-1954

 

 

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